Mater Dei’s Michael Woepse sets high bar for Arcadia track meet

Anthony Curran has been coaching pole vaulters at UCLA for 28 years, and he has never had an incoming high school recruit quite like Michael Woepse of Santa Ana Mater Dei.

“He’s the toughest, most aggressive kid I’ve ever seen in high school,” Curran said. “He has more passion than anyone in the event.”

Woepse cleared 17 feet 6 inches last month in a dual meet, and on Saturday he could try for 18 feet when he competes in the Arcadia Invitational, where he went a season-best 16-9 last year.

The Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High is considered the best track and field meet of the season in Southern California because it brings together top high school athletes from California and around the nation. Field events begin at 3:30 p.m., and running events start at 5:25 p.m.

In the boys’ invitational mile, junior Elias Gedyon of Los Angeles Loyola is among the favorites in a stellar field. He has the goal of running a four-minute mile before he leaves high school.

USC-bound football standout Robert Woods of Gardena Serra is entered in the 200 and will also run in the 400-meter relay. The Cavaliers will try to challenge Long Beach Poly in the relay.

— Eric Sondheimer